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Gadhafi Gives Rebels the Slip, Goes Walkabout

Libyan rebels Wednesday hunted for Moammar Gadhafi and battled remnants of his forces, as the defiant strongman boasted he went walkabout and urged residents to cleanse Tripoli of "rats."

Two powerful blasts thought to be caused by an air attack rocked the capital early in the morning as a NATO warplane flew overhead, hours after rebel fighters overran Gadhafi's Bab al-Azizya compound in the center of Tripoli.

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Yemen PM Returns to Sanaa

Yemen's Prime Minister Ali Mohammed Mujawer returned to Sanaa on Tuesday from hospital in Riyadh, more than two months after he was hurt in a bomb attack on the president's compound, state television said.

Mujawer is the first top Yemeni official to return from medical treatment in Saudi Arabia after being wounded in the June 3 blast in the mosque of the presidential palace, which killed 11 people and wounded several others.

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Seif al-Islam: Gadhafi and Family Still in Tripoli

Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi and his family are still in Tripoli, where his troops were engaged in fierce fighting with rebels outside his compound on Tuesday, his son Seif al-Islam said.

"Gadhafi and the entire family are in Tripoli," Seif told reporters at the Rixos hotel in the capital where many foreign journalists are housed.

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Syrian Dissidents Form 'National Council' as Evening Demos Staged

Syrian dissidents meeting in Istanbul on Tuesday established a "national council" to coordinate a campaign to topple President Bashar al-Assad.

In a final declaration, activists said the council rejected foreign intervention or the rule of any one ethnic group and emphasized the national character of the "revolution."

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U.S. Ambassador Visits Southern Syria

The U.S. ambassador to Syria on Tuesday visited a town in the south of the country where 15 people were killed last week, an embassy spokesman said.

"Ambassador Robert Ford went this morning to Jassem, 65 kilometers south of Damascus as part of his routine diplomatic duties," the spokesman, who declined to be named, told Agence France Presse.

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Rebels Seize Bab al-Aziziya Compound, No Trace of Gadhafi, Sons

Rebel fighters captured Moammar Gadhafi's heavily fortified Bab al-Aziziya compound and headquarters in Tripoli on Tuesday after a day of fierce fighting, an Agence France Presse correspondent witnessed.

The defenders had fled, and the whereabouts of Gadhafi or his family were unknown after the insurgents breached the defenses as part of a massive assault that began in the morning.

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War Crimes Court had No Confirmation of Seif's Arrest

The International Criminal Court (ICC) "never" had confirmation of the arrest of Seif al-Islam, one of Libyan leader Moammar Gadhafi's sons said to have been captured by the rebels, a spokesman said Tuesday.

"After yesterday's announcement, we communicated with the National Transitional Council to have confirmation of the arrest, but we never received it from the NTC," the ICC's spokesman Fadi el-Abdallah said -- after Seif al-Islam spoke to journalists to refute the "lies" about his capture.

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Davutoglu in Benghazi as Fighting Rages Outside Gadhafi’s Compound

Turkish Foreign Minister Ahmet Davutoglu arrived in the eastern Libyan city of Benghazi on Tuesday to meet rebel governing council chief Mustafa Abdel Jalil, an Agence France Presse journalist said.

Davutoglu arrived Tuesday morning in the rebel bastion, even as Moammar Gadhafi's forces staged a fightback in Tripoli against insurgents who had surged into the capital on Sunday.

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Abbas to Meet Feltman in Doha

Palestinian president Mahmud Abbas meets on Tuesday the U.S. Assistant Secretary for Near East Affairs, Jeffrey Feltman, in Doha as Washington presses the Palestinians to abandon plans to bid from UN membership next month, an Arab diplomat said.

The meeting will take place as several Arab foreign ministers convene after a request by the Palestinian Authority "to maintain cohesion in the Arab stand," the diplomat told Agence France Presse on condition of anonymity.

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Former Croatian Leader: Gadhafi Ready to Step Down

Former Croatian president Stipe Mesic who has close ties Moammar Gadhafi said Tuesday that the Libyan leader told him he was ready to step down from political life if NATO ended airstrikes.

"I can confirm that colonel Gadhafi is ready to retreat completely from political and public life with a firm engagement that we would impede the setting up of a multi-party system but on the condition that the NATO airstrikes cease," Mesic said in a statement quoted by Hina news agency.

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